Australia’s discovery of graphene could unlock cheaper, more efficient Li-ion batteries – pv magazine International



Researchers at the University of Wollongong in Australia have discovered a new form of graphene that will improve the anode and cathode materials in lithium-ion batteries, making them cheaper and more efficient. They are collaborating with Sicona, which has agreed to buy the intellectual property of the researchers.

From pv magazine Australia

A research collaboration led to the discovery of Edge Functionalized Graphene (EFG), a form of graphene that is both highly conductive and processable, and which promises to improve the cost and efficiency of lithium-ion batteries.

Researchers from the University of Wollongong (UOW) in New South Wales, in collaboration with scientists from ARC Center of Excellence for Electromaterials Science and the Australian national manufacturing facility, made the discovery. They were led by the teacher David Officer and teacher Gordon wallace.

EFG is composed of nanoplatelets with excellent potential as a valuable carbon additive for a variety of electrochemical devices, the researchers say. The team said these unique properties mean the materials will be useful in energy storage, both for batteries and supercapacitors, as well as in composites for use as sensors, reinforcing materials, or non-metallic conductors.

Researchers are now working with a private company Sicona Battery Technologies to show how to increase production. Sicona has entered into binding agreements with UOW for the acquisition of its intellectual property related to EFG.

“Like many materials, finding a way to harness the extraordinary properties of graphene in useful applications critically depends on the transformation of graphene,” Officer said. “With EFG, we were not only able to create a process that produces a unique graphene that can be used as a powder, paste, paste or dispersion, but also a process that we believe is commercially scalable. Our Sicona business partners have recognized this.

Sicona CEO Christiaan Jordaan said the new material will allow it to improve the electrical conductivity and therefore the quality of its battery materials. “It’s a simple and highly scalable production process that gives this unique EFG material, we believe it has a bright future in the rapidly growing battery market,” he said.

EFG was initially discovered in 2017, but researchers then had to determine what the “real” material was in order to simplify the manufacturing process, Wallace said.

“Extracting amazing discoveries from the research lab to industry is a complex process. Often, we don’t have common interests or agree on the best way forward, ”he added.

The technology is patent pending in 12 international jurisdictions. Its supporters said it would be “further improved” as part of a two-year research and collaboration agreement between Sicona and UOW focused on scaling up the process and applying the graphene material in batteries, as well as a thermal conductivity activator.

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